Have you ever entered into a yoga class where everyone seemed to be competing against each other and come out feeling worse than you did before coming in? Honestly, there should be no competition in a yoga class. It’s just that there are many classes that have become more difficult than they need to be because of how we are coming into it.
We’re so used to being in such a competitive environment from our homes, schools, and work that we’re also becoming more competitive in other aspects of our lives, including relationships, working out, and sadly, even yoga. There are so many things we should be doing just for the sake of doing it without the need for us to be better than someone else.
You find yourself on a yoga mat taking your very first class, could even be your 100th class, and you could be looking at that yoga prop, whether a block or a strap, with reproach, thinking that it’s a sign of weakness or inadequacy. The moment the teacher tells you to grab that block you think to yourself that you don’t need it and will make do with that hand floating in midair while the rest of your side body cramps, you’re holding your breath and the pose becomes torture rather than a testament.
There is a reason for those straps, the blanket, the chair, the wall, and those stacks of blocks, and it’s not what you think it is. It’s not to become screaming signs of your inability to do poses but to be signs of compassion and acceptance of yourself and your body today. Now, you might think that it’s just a euphemism or a roundabout way of saying “you’re not good enough,” but I promise you, it isn’t.
If yoga were to ever teach you one thing and one thing only, let it be a way for you to learn more about yourself so that you can better address the things you need to become a better person physically and mentally.
We’re all built differently not just in our characters and personalities but in our bone structure and bodies as well. We all have differently shaped pelvises. Our hip sockets are oriented differently. Our bone lengths can vary, and we may have developed certain imbalances growing up. These are things we’re going to run into coming into a yoga class.
It’s not going to be pretty, and it’s going to be a hell of a lot of work for each of us. But our work is going to vary from one another, and that’s okay because we are all going to work and that’s what counts in class.
Props are there to help us deal with our differences and address the work necessary for us to improve in our practices. It’s for us to become a little bit more honest with ourselves and that maybe these props eventually become gauges to show how far you’ve come too.